Top Edinburgh comedy club, Monkey Barrel, have branched out into the record business. In a reminder of the days when a live comedy album was a career staple for everyone from Billy Connolly to Monty Python, the club’s new comedy record label, Monkey Barrel Records, will be releasing vinyl recordings of some of the brightest and best talent to pass through their doors.
The first trio of releases will be shows recorded at last year’s Fringe. They are: Double Take & Fade Away from double Edinburgh Comedy Award winner, John Kearns; Olga Koch, If/Then, the follow-up to her Best Newcomer nominated show; and Eagle Fire Iron by Icelandic comedian Ari Eldjárn.
“I don’t own any vinyl,” said Kearns. “So for the first record to be my own makes me feel absolutely fantastic. I’ve got plenty of digital downloads so that’ll just go on the heap but imagine if you could only own anything by making one yourself? Hello? Anyway, it’s a bloody good show that I’m chuffed was recorded at the superlative Monkey Barrel Comedy in the final throes of the Edinburgh Fringe and thankfully not in Corby, Wolverhampton or Darlington and Norwich. May it gather dust in your (500 to break even) collections and be played for my weeping Great-Great-Great Grandchildren on an episode of Repair Shop in 2110.”
Talking about recording her record, Koch said, “There is something about going through Monkey Barrel’s thick velvet curtain and performing in front of its classic brick wall that makes you feel like a real stand-up comic. In the years past, I saw some of my favourite Edinburgh Fringe shows at Monkey Barrel, so when I was lucky enough to join their ranks in the summer of 2019, it was truly a dream come true.”
Eldjárn was also complimentary about the Monkey Barrel experience. “In 2017, I walked into Monkey Barrel for the first time, to do my first English show in Edinburgh. Just before stepping on stage I asked a member of the staff numerous questions about the venue and whether some of my references would be understood. He replied with a thick Scottish accent, ‘Ah, you’ll be fine’ and pushed me on stage. This pretty much sums up the can-do attitude of everyone involved in the club during the hectic period that is the Fringe.”
The records are available as part of Monkey Barrel’s crowdfunding campaign, and they will only be produced if the campaign exceeds its minimum funding goal by Thursday 25th June. If all goes well, the club plan to release more records before the end of the year, and when it’s safe to do so, begin a new series of recordings as part of our relaunch.